NFL Picks: Patriots vs. Steelers Betting Odds and Sunday Predictions
by Trevor Whenham - 11/14/2010
This Sunday night contest is a battle between two of the four teams tied for the best record in the AFC - two teams that have long been at the top of the division. It should be a classic - a truly impressive war. The problem, though, is that neither one of the squads is coming in off of a great game, and there are questions to be asked about both squads.
The biggest and most obvious questions relate to the Pats. In one of the most head-scratching results of the whole season New England not only lost to the Browns last weekend, but were totally and utterly humiliated - the 34-14 score was flattering to New England. You would have to work really hard to overstate just how bad the Patriots played in that game - every element of the game was lousy.
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The team reportedly had a terrible week of practice heading into the game, and it showed. Some of the problems could have been that they were looking past the Browns to this game and the Colts next week. You also have to note, though, that this team is younger and less talented than they have been in a while, and it could be starting to catch up to them.
Bouncing back form that last game won’t be easy, but they have a better chance of doing it with Bill Belichick in charge -- and Tom Brady taking the snaps -- than most teams would in this situation.
Pittsburgh is coming in off a win, but they have issues as well. For starters, they almost blew a 20-point lead against a very lousy Cincinnati team. Cincinnati completed a first down pass inside the five-yard line with 34 seconds left, but a James Harrison hit knocked the ball loose and sealed the win.
On top of that, the Steelers are a very banged up team. Starting left tackle Max Starks left the game last week with what appeared to be a simple stinger, but it’s obviously far worse because he has been put on the IR and his season is over. That leaves them with just eight linemen, and two others - left guard Chris Kemoeatu and center Maurkice Pouncey - were hurt last game as well. The line is, needless to say, paper thin.
Add in three players that suffered concussions in the last game and real problems on the defensive line and you have a team that could be inviting fans out of the crowd to play in the game if anyone else gets hurt.
Patriots vs. Steelers Betting Odds and Line Movement
The line opened with the default line - the home team favored by three. Bettors aren’t seemingly fond of the Patriots in this spot because the line has jumped up by two points, with the Steelers now favored by five, according to NFL lines. Sixty percent of all bettors have their NFL picks on the Patriots, though, so this is a pretty good sign that the smart money likes the home team and feel pretty strongly about it. The total has opened at 44 and is making a slow move up - it sits at 45.5 as I write, and could climb higher.
Patriots vs. Steelers Betting Trends
New England bounces back well - they are 13-5 in their last 18 games after a game in which they allowed 30 or more points.
Pittsburgh is 19-7 ATS in their last 26 when playing at home as a favorite of more than a field goal but less than 10 points, but just 1-4-1 ATS in their last six games as home favorites of any kind.
New England is 3-1-2 ATS in their last six games as a road underdog, but just 1-3-3 ATS in their last seven against teams with a winning record.
Eight of New England’s last 10 games have gone ‘over’ the total, and four of the last five road games have as well.
Six of the last seven meetings between these teams has gone ‘over’. New England has covered seven of the last nine meetings between the squads, and and five of the last six in Pittsburgh.
Patriots vs. Steelers NFL Picks and Sunday Predictions
I really can’t believe how bad the Patriots were last week. Just awful. Despite that, though, I am going to put my faith in them here because I think that they are getting too many points to ignore.
The Patriots bounce back well, and they are going to be angry and focused after the embarrassment of last week. They are up against a team that they have had success against in the past, and which is struggling mightily with injuries.
Pittsburgh’s offensive and defensive lines both give me particular concerns because of their health. I think there is a decent chance that the Patriots can win this one, but even if they don’t the should be able to keep it close, and that makes five points very attractive.
I don’t have a strong feeling about the total either way, but the trends point to the ‘over’.
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